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Number Of TFWs In Canada Tripled Between 2002 And 2012, PBO Report Says

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The regions that saw the largest growth in the number of temporary foreign workers between 2002 and 2012 might come as a surprise.

Maritime provinces, where the labour market isn’t exactly booming, saw some of the biggest growth in temporary foreign workers as a percentage of the workforce during the decade studied in a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office. The report also found the number of TFWs in Canada tripled during that decade.

Temporary foreign workers in P.E.I. grew by 7.2 per cent, the most in all of Canada. Saskatchewan saw the second largest growth, at 5.7 per cent, followed closely by New Brunswick, where growth was 5.5 per cent.

Many Maritime fisheries employers say they need temporary foreign workers to do low-skilled, low paid jobs such as those in seafood processing plants, because Canadians won’t do them.

The Canadian Press reports:

OTTAWA - The Parliamentary Budget Officer says in a new report that the number of foreign workers in Canada tripled between 2002 and 2012 — although they still made up fewer than two per cent of the country's overall labour force.

The PBO study looks at the role foreign workers played in the Canadian economy in the decade between 2002 and 2012.

Foreign workers can enter the labour market through either the international mobility program or the temporary foreign worker program, which came under fire last year after allegations surfaced about some employers — particularly restaurants — abusing the program.

The PBO report says 85 per cent of the foreign workers in low-skilled positions were in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

The study says a significant number of foreigners work on farms, in restaurants or as babysitters or nannies — jobs the PBO says are on the low end of the pay scale.

Employers don't seem to want to raise wages in these areas, so they are forced to rely on either unemployed domestic workers with few skills or foreign workers, the report says.

The Conservative government introduced new rules in June to limit the number of foreign workers that large- and medium-sized companies are permitted to hire.

It says the changes are aimed at ensuring Canadians are first in line for jobs.

Also on HuffPost:

Largest Canadian Employers Using Temporary Foreign Workers (2013)
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